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5 Things To Know About Divorce

As you approach the legal processes of divorce, you will soon join a club of people who never wanted to join that club — those who understand the key issues, the steps and other ins and outs of the repercussions of divorce. The beauty of working with an experienced, empathetic attorney is that you will not walk through these challenges alone or unaware of the most important things you need to know.

I am attorney Thomas P. McNally in Novato, and I welcome the opportunity to reduce and relieve any natural apprehensions you may have about your California divorce. Let's start by reviewing five of the most helpful things to know about a marital dissolution and related family law matters.

No. 1: If you sometimes feel disoriented and unable to think clearly during the divorce process, this is perfectly normal. So many aspects of life that we usually take for granted — where you will live, what you own, what you must sell and distribute, what you are responsible for paying, where your children spend their time and more — may be subject to change as a result of your divorce. Your mind, body and emotions may all experience fatigue throughout the necessary steps of a marital breakup.

This is one of the most compelling reasons to choose an experienced, understanding attorney to guide you calmly and confidently through each necessary step along the way.

No. 2: It is rare — and perhaps impossible — for both spouses to be completely satisfied with the outcome of a divorce. It is a time of loss and readjustment as well as a time to think practically about matters such as retirement accounts, health insurance, house payments and monthly expenses. Be prepared to give up at least some of what you want to hold onto for the sake of reaching an expeditious, low-stress settlement agreement or court order.

How will you know if you need to take a hard line? Share your honest concerns with your family law attorney so if you decide you must take your case to trial, you will be represented in a way that reflects your highest priorities.

No. 3: California is a community property state. You may have heard this already. In a nutshell, what it means is property you and your spouse acquired during the marriage is presumed to belong to the community estate and subject to 50-50 percent distribution. (Inheritances and gifts are exceptions to this rule if you or your spouse have kept these assets separate during the marriage).

Discuss your unique circumstances with your divorce lawyer to determine how the rules associated with a community property state will likely affect your case — and ways you can protect your property rights.

No. 4: An apparently uncontested divorce rarely turns out to be completely uncontested. As you begin the divorce process, you and your wife or husband may believe you agree on what a fair outcome will look like. Choose an attorney who will take you at your word that this is your starting place — but be prepared to adjust your strategy if you discover points of disagreement.

A skilled family law attorney can help prevent your divorce from taking on a life of its own and taking you places you do not want to go. At Thomas P. McNally Law Offices, we respect clients' perspectives and goals. I am attorney Thomas P. McNally, and I keep my clients well-informed to minimize surprises. I will never urge you to turn an amicable divorce into an adversarial process — but if disagreements arise, I will make sure you understand your rights.

No. 5: Property division is rarely modifiable once a divorce is complete, so it is important to be sure you understand what the divorce decree will mean to your future. Spousal support, child support and child custody, on the other hand, may be modified if your or your spouse's situation changes significantly.

Catch Rays Of Hope —Take The Next Step Now

Most people who go through divorce find their footing before long and move forward to new chapters of life with resilience and revitalized direction. If you have children, you will surely do your best to continue to give them a loving, nurturing home life. Even if you have no children, you may discover strengths you did not know you had as you adjust to the new facts of life.

To make the most of the changes ahead, get a lawyer on your side early in the process. I am here to answer questions and explain what the laws of California have to say about your situation. Call 415-897-3442 or send an email message through this website to schedule a consultation.

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